Free agency has not been bad to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it certainly hasn’t been great either. The team has been able to keep the players it really wanted to keep. But at the same time, they have had to watch some walk away.
The roster issues that teams do not take care of through free agency often become the ones teams like to focus on in the draft. However, in the case of the Steelers, their focus will not necessarily be one they didn’t take care of in free agency, but one that was created.
With the departures of Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones, the Steelers could use some depth at linebacker. Depending on whether they truly believe in Vince Williams, they may even want to look for a potential starter.
That is exactly what ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Todd McShay thinks the Steelers should do in the first round. In his latest mock draft, he has the Steelers selecting Takkarist McKinley, a defensive end/outside linebacker, out of UCLA.
McKinley is a big boy at 6’2” and 250 pounds. At the combine, he was timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.59 seconds and recorded 24 reps of 225 lbs. on bench press. But in his last year at UCLA, he developed into one of the most feared pass rushers in the Pac-12. Many scouts have compared him to DeMarcus Ware and Bruce Irvin.
So—is this the right call? Well, if he can be as disruptive against NFL competition as he was against college teams last year, he would be a great addition. But fans will not know for certain until the postseason. If he can help the Steelers get by the Patriots, it was a great pick.
If he doesn’t—they should have taken a defensive back.